GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson spoke with the media Friday morning, near the end of his team’s opening week of training camp. Here are highlights:
On the value of versatile linebackers like Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers: Well, you should never say my name and those two names in the same sentence. It’s part of the evolution of the game, I think. It’s part of the evolution of defense. Because offenses do certain things, and then defenses have to react to that. In some cases, it’s hard to get all you want, because it’s difficult to find a player who has the athletic characteristics to justify that.
On the hybrid safety movement in the NFL: That’s a perfect example. There are teams that have done some of that in the past. A lot of times it depends on your personnel. Sometimes, writing about it and talking about it and things, it’s really an effort just like nickel and dime, you want to put as many of your best players on the field at the same time.
On whether Packers have the personnel to join hybrid safety movement: Sure.
On whether the team is in position to win the Super Bowl: My thinking is always the same. We’re starting a new year, and we’re playing for a championship, and we’re trying to win this championship. That’s the way it was last year and the year before and the year before. Whether they verbalize it or not, I think everybody wants to win. You can say what I say, you can maybe think you jinx yourself, but this is a good football team. I think they know where they are in the grand scheme of things. They’ve been in the playoffs and competed at a high level, and I don’t think it’s a misstatement to say we want to win the whole thing.
On the Brett Favre trade: (Then-Packers GM Ron Wolf) wanted me to watch him. So he left me in a dark room, and I watched some of him. He asked, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ He said, ‘I’m thinking about trading a No. 1 for him.’ I said, ‘I think you ought to do that.’ I hadn’t been around Ron very long, but I’ve been around him long enough to know he wanted an answer that was tilted in a certain direction.
On Favre entering the Hall of Fame while being on good terms with Packers: I think it’s important for the organization and the player to be in a good place. For me, it’s a selfish thing. Like I’ve said before, we never had a crossed word, and still haven’t. But circumstances put us all in situations that we were uncomfortable with, and I think that happens in life. I think life throws you curve balls.
On the difficulty of finding a QB: We have always said this, we’ve been remarkably fortunate with this franchise to have the two that we’ve got.
On whether Thompson will attend the Favre ceremony: We’re hoping to. People are working night and day to try to pull off the logistics of all of it. We certainly are hoping to make it, and we think we will. By hook or by crook, that’s the plan.
On close playoff losses: I’ve been reading that in the press recently. I think you always go through a checklist of things, how do we do on this, how do we do on that. But it hasn’t been a grand design of what we have to do to push this over. Bum Phillips, when we came back from Pittsburgh and lost another AFC championship game, all the people in Houston came to the Astrodome to welcome us back. This is after losing an AFC championship game. They had a stage, so Bum goes up and talks to the people. I think his thing is, last year we knocked on the door. This year, we beat on the door. Next year, we’re going to knock that SOB in. bless his heart, we didn’t do that. I think the next year, Cleveland won't hat conference. I think you try to get ready every year to try to win. We’re playing in the NFL and make no mistake into thinking this is an easy deal. This is a tough deal.
On whether luck plays a role in close playoff losses: I think there’s good fortune to be had, making a 50-footer in the championship in the US Open. You have to be pretty good to be in the US Open and have the change to make that putt, but you made a 50 footer. Even if you’re a good putter, I think that would be considered somewhat lucky.